2021 Fall Symposium recap and recordings

Thank you to all those that joined us virtually for our 2021 Fall Symposium on the topic, “Work-Life Challenges and Integration in the Context of COVID.” Our 2021 Fall Symposium took place last Friday on November 19, 2021 and was sponsored by the Institute, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and Portland State University’s Occupational Health Psychology Program. There were many thoughtful and active discussions throughout the day.

Work-life integration has taken on new meaning during the pandemic. For some, the flexibility that comes with remote work opens up new opportunities while for others the lines between work and home life become blurred, with heightened work-life stress. For others, the stress and trauma associated with essential work during this time have clear implications for life outside of work including personal stress and family challenges.

Dr. Leslie Hammer opened the 2021 Fall Symposium by addressing areas of work-life challenges and integration during COVID. Outreach team member, Nichole Guilfoy provided great moderating to move the Q&A and discussion throughout.

Highlights from our speakers:
  • Keynote speaker, Jody Thompson from CultureRx discussed the culture of accountability and autonomy to help establish an equitable environment for employees to thrive and feel supported.
  • Charlice Hurst, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Management and Organization in the Mendoza College of Business shares a systems thinking approach to create a just economy for Black and Latinx women to provide cultural resources, economic opportunities and a sense of safety that all employees value. Dr. Hurst mentions that “pay is one of the best leverage points to promote equity in the workplace.”
  • Kristen Shockley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia is researching the impacts of work-family management in the time of COVID. Dr. Shockley shares the importance of social connectedness, the nature of the workspace and sleep hygiene as factors that mattered the most for remote workers.
  • Tori Crain, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Portland State University shared her important research on supporting low-wage essential workers’ nonwork life during COVID and discusses work-family stressors.

Steven Hecker, Nargess Shadbeh, Kate Suisman and moderator Dede Montgomery joined us for a panel session on wages, benefits and opportunities between workers in many industries, especially among essential workers. Our panel discussed key lessons from the past 18 months and shared steps needed as we move ahead to best support all workers.

Key takeaways from our panel:
  • Investment in enforcement for nationally and statewide resources is needed for a culture of compliance.
  • Strengthen the voices of workers to change policy and retaliation protection.
  • Identify and find scientific and community support, increase resources to support enforcement and offer accessible community education.
  • Access to translation and interpretation of multiple languages for resources and services.
  • Following up and following through for equal access and rights for essential workers.

To view all of the recordings and handouts, please visit our 2021 Fall Symposium page. Also, visit our OccHealthSci Twitter feed to see our “live tweets” from the Fall Symposium with graphics that were shared by our speakers.